I seem to have left all my Christmas shopping until the last minute this year. I think it’s because I’ve been having such good fun baking. Thank goodness for the interwebz where you can still find loads of last minute gifts for teenagers, with something to suit even the pickiest teen. And if, like me, you’re going to struggle to afford a brand new PlayStation 4 Pro (basically the only thing on Sam’s Christmas list this year, but at £350 not going to happen, unfortunately), I’ve hunted down some great gifts that will keep any type of teenager happy.
Ahh it’s October again. Along with all the mists and mellow fruitfulness, it’s time for all the planning and panicking that comes with sending your teenagers off to uni. Charlie hasn’t quite got enough points to do the course he wants at university, so we have a year’s reprieve as he’s studying for one more year at a local college, but having already experienced it with Sam (who has also gone back to college after deciding that Uni isn’t for him), I know it’s both an exciting and stressful time. Here are my top 5 tips for preparing your kids for university.
Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line’s home port in Florida, is based about an hour from Walt Disney World Resort (you can book transfers when you book your Disney cruise, and if you’re going straight from Orlando Airport to your Disney ship, your luggage will be whisked straight to the ship while you board one of Disney’s Magical Express coaches).
I think your parenting style changes as your children go through different life stages. I’ve been thinking recently about how my parenting has evolved as the boys have moved into their older teens. Our household has always been pretty laid back, but a few wobbles recently have made me fall back upon the rules that I’ve always leant on to give the boys boundaries. Here are my current thoughts on my very own ‘best practice’.
I’ve never been good with money. It’s one of the things we’ve tried really hard to talk to the boys about because (and I know you’re not supposed to do this but, hey…) I don’t want them to make the same mistakes we made.
We were married with a child by the time I was 25 and, back then, it was pretty easy to buy a house with two incomes. It makes me realise just how lucky we were. My parents were generous with their help and by the time Charlie came along, we’d moved into a bigger house that needed some work and were slowly doing it up.
It’s been a mad week here at English Towers. The Sainsbury’s #loveyourfreezer campaign has gone live and it’s been really lovely receiving tweets, texts and Facebook messages (and AWFUL screenshots – thanks guys haha) saying ‘ooh, I’ve just seen you on the telly!’. I’m SO proud of this campaign – Sainsbury’s have been amazingly lovely to work with, and there are loads more exciting things coming up.
So things on the house front have moved on AGAIN. After the third house purchase fell through, I’ve got to be honest, we were pretty despondent. I’ve never heard of it happening before, but the last one got right to survey and then the survey came in 20k under budget. Anyone else had any experience of that?
Anyhoo, it’s all change again, because we think we’ve found the perfect house – the one we’re already in! We’ve got some lovely plans to do the place up – with a spacious kitchen diner instead of our poky kitchen and separate dining room (more of this later, but my Pinterest page is burgeoning) and new floors and even bathrooms when funds permit.
I think teenagers are some of the most difficult people to buy pressies for (difficult all round, but that’s for another day haha). Thinking creatively about their presents, aside from the never ending list of PS4/Xbox related things occupies quite a lot of my time before Christmas, so I thought I’d share a couple of lovely present ideas with you.
Happy half term! We’ve been really busy planning a trip to Florida next week (it’s Mr English’s 50th while we’re over there too), and I spent the weekend in London with my friend Erica (more of this very soon). There’s also been more work on The Secret Special Thing that Cannot be Mentioned. All will be revealed soon, I promise.
So this is our last week living as a proper family unit I suppose (although let’s face it, with Mr English’s weird job, we’re only ever a family unit two weeks out of four). Sam’s off to university next week and we’ll miss him loads. This became apparent as we watched the NFL tonight and sniggered, en famille, when the commentator said ‘bush’, and then a bit more when he said something about ‘coming in from behind’.
So it’s been a little frantic here at English Towers. First we had A level results, and then within a week it was GCSE results. Honestly, I really should have planned my children a little better.
Still, it was all good. I used the hashtag #noexamswerefailedonthisday on Instagram but in truth, one exam WAS failed. But hey, it didn’t matter. Sam got what he needed to head out into the big wide world of university, and Charlie’s off to sixth form.
If there’s one thing I always insist upon, it’s a celebration when someone’s done something brilliant. As parents, we spend plenty of time enforcing rules, cajoling, counselling (okay, and occasionally moaning), so when something amazing happens, I always think it redresses the balance a bit to celebrate. Everyone loves a pat on the back when they do something great, don’t they?
So obviously all this exam success called just such a celebration, and what better celebration is there than a whopping great warm, chocolatey, squishy brownie cake smothered in lashings of chocolate ganache? None, that’s what…
I’ve written before about how gorgeous our local Prezzo is. The staff are lovely, the atmosphere in the place is amazing (helped by an open kitchen featuring a massive pizza oven) and the food is consistently good. Last week we popped in to try the new summer sharing specials.
Every parent of teenagers knows that feeling when you start to wonder exactly how long your children will keep wanting to come on holiday with you. As they grow up, they naturally develop their own tastes, likes and dislikes (and even more naturally, these will tend to be the exact opposite to yours), so agreeing on a holiday destination (and indeed, persuading them to dump their mates and come on holiday with you) is never easy.
Enter, the Caribbean cruise. Here’s why:
Our cruise aboard the beautiful Allure of the Seas took us around the Eastern Caribbean. Starting from Fort Lauderdale , where we stayed one night at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina – a gorgeous hotel with the most beautiful views of the marina (the clue’s in the name)…
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, I’m pretty sure that you’ve noticed we’ve been cruising on the Allure of the Seas around the Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean challenged the boys to have a really active high-adrenaline cruise and I think we managed it, what with zip-lining, surfing on the Flow-Rider, snorkelling, power rafting and much more. And while the boys were doing all this, it left us lots of lovely free time for lazing, eating out, sunbathing and a few cocktails too! Here’s how we got on:
- A salted caramel layer cake for my lovely Dad July 25, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: the summer kitchen roundup July 22, 2017
- The positive life plan: self July 20, 2017
- News from D23 Expo: what’s coming up at Walt Disney World, Florida July 18, 2017
- Top activities for adrenaline junkies July 17, 2017